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Promising game held back by badly implemented AI
Hey - not a rage-quit whine or anything like that, just wanted to echo the comment that the game certainly does seem broken (to the point where continuing play is too frustrating).

I like management games that require a pretty unforgiving recipe for success, I like permadeath and games that punish me for stupid mistakes.

I just like that punishment to come in an immersive, interesting and realistic way.

The problem with Planetbase is pretty simple ... the colonists are just really badly coded once your base expands to a certain size.

((EDIT: although the developer does seem to be making active improvements, which is great and has the potential to elevate the game significantly))

When you keep it small and simple, it's OK .. and perhaps if you micro-manage adding layers after that, you can succeed (but is it fun??) .. for me, the main problem can be illustrated with a really simple example.

I have a middle-sized base laid out, about to expand into robotics, otherwise everything is going well. Then I get a maintenance problem with power (hmm, weird, I have a factory making spares), and it throws power out for a day or two while I sort out expansion of the power supply (adding a large solar generator and storage).

Colonists are grumpy, looks like meal production (which had been in a massive surplus) is now behind for some reason .. maybe the biologists have been busy carrying around the construction materials .. anyway it's fine .. back to work.

BUT (and this illustrates the problem)...

I'm eyeballing a biologist standing in a corridor just loitering around .. not far from a biodome where there are neglected tomatoes, etc ... checking out his status, his only problem appears to be that he's hungry (as are a number of grumbling colonists by now).

SO

You've got a ♥♥♥♥ing hungry biologist
Who is qualified to tend plants
Who wont tend plants because hes hungry
When tending plants is what he needs to do in order to solve his (and others) hunger

Just .. well, the UI could use some work, and it'd be great to see more personalised info about colonists, their skills, allocating them to different jobs ..

But the AI just seems .. broken.

It looks nice and seems promising .. but .. the problems can make the game un-fun if you're easily frustrated.
Last edited by Captain Australia; Jan 26, 2016 @ 9:43am
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Showing 1-15 of 123 comments
towerator Jan 21, 2016 @ 9:30pm 
The more colonists are hungry, the less they work. It is probable that this guy is waiting for a meal to come to the meal maker.
AI isn't so bad, in fact, but there are several factors that may look like it is terrible. Did you check the FAQ?
Captain Australia Jan 21, 2016 @ 9:53pm 
I haven't really read up on the problems, it's just to obviously dodgy for me to look for strategies to work around it.

This guy as a prime example, need for food was sitting somewhere around 60%, maybe a bit more .. all the other bars were above 80% .. so arguably a chap with few problems except a grumbling belly.

So .. if you've got a small group of botanists with slightly mounting hunger, they'll all neglect their jobs GROWING FOOD which would directly solve their hunger problem .. ie "I'm hungry but I'd rather starve than work"

It's a broken logic loop as far as I'm concerned ... human beings are designed to overcome problems, these colonists are in that regard kinda anti-human .. at least if your base grows to a certain size ..

(I accept it's possible that he's standing in the corridor because he's confused between possible activities .. carry resources, build bar, etc that might be pulling at him equally with his GROW FOOD role)

... but yeah, "I'm a little big hungry, so I better stop my job producing the food I need to address my hunger" ... that's for me .. dumb as a sack of doorknobs .. a level of painfully stupid that it's hard for me to live with :)
Last edited by Captain Australia; Jan 21, 2016 @ 9:53pm
Sagacious Joe Jan 21, 2016 @ 11:18pm 
I get a similar issue with bots after a while. After a certain level fo complexity, constructors inside will roam between two rooms instead of going to the nearest airlock. At one point, one of those rooms WAS the airlock, and he just couldn't figure out he needed to go outside.
I'm trying varying map styles, but the problem always occurs after about ten rooms.
shaeby Jan 22, 2016 @ 12:50am 
Captain Australia, totally agree with this. I was doing really well, everyone was happy, energy goes down. So, I buy a ton of spares (which they were making but omfg everything comes at you at once much?!) and once they had fixed that problem they all decided they were starving, so I build a new biodome (all well and good, I have the stuff that they apparently couldn't be bothered turning into spares in spite of our dire need), I have over 30 biologists I have plenty of meat production, etc. They STILL all die off because they're 'too hungry' to keep an eye on the food.

I know the average person isn't exactly einstein but even my five year old can understand 'grow food to eat food'.
korac Jan 22, 2016 @ 3:58am 
Guys, IMO the AI didn't put you in the position you find yourselves in. What you're actually complaining about, if you think about it, is that it doesn't hold your hand or do anything in particular to help you get out of the hole you've dug for yourselves (in which category I include biologists trying to grow food until they themselves literally keel over and die, which may or may not help you out of that hole depending how deep you've dug it before noticing!).

Whether your problem was caused by too few biologists, too few meal machines, too few plants, too rapid expansion of population without the infrastructure or stocks to support them, or simply a disaster highlighting the fact that your reserve food stocks were in fact too low to ride out a crisis situation -- or perhaps a combination of some or even all of these very common mistakes -- it doesn't change the fact that you put yourselves in that position in the first place. Indeed, we've all been there...

No one is saying that the AI is perfect. The devs themselves are aware of certain issues and are doing their best to address these, but the few remaining, genuine problems are by no means game killers. If you don't like to read Guides, figure out for yourselves why things went horribly wrong in the first place, then try to come up with a base building strategy intended to avoid the same thing happening again.
SGTSylver Jan 22, 2016 @ 7:34am 
More than half the posts about this game complain about the AI, but you still have those that insist the AI isn't a problem. It is true that if you build and grow a certain way you don't run into AI issues so much but that is pretty much a game killer. Once you figure out how to do it the game is boring and since there is no mid-long, end game playability the game is a huge waste.
[WWKD]Lime Jan 22, 2016 @ 2:10pm 
I think it would feel less gamey if colonists suffering from an issue would assign higher priority to that issue (if possible) rather than simply going on strike. If you're a pioneering biologist on a brave new world and people are starving, your solution isn't going to be to sit in a corner and pout until somebody else solves the problem. You're going to head to that biodome and work your♥♥♥♥♥off, because if you don't, everybody's going to die.

Likewise, if the oxygen is going out and you're an engineer, you're not going to scream at the All Knowing Cursor in the Sky to build more oxygen generators...you're going to go fix the damn oxygen generator.
Captain Australia Jan 22, 2016 @ 2:13pm 
What you're actually complaining about, if you think about it, is that it doesn't hold your hand or do anything in particular to help you get out of the hole you've dug for yourselves

Nobody's complaining about anything, just because a viewpoint expressed contradicts yours, it doesnt make it wrong.

I think I'm a sophisticated and intelligent person (and gamer), I don't need my hand held .. but yes, I am asserting that the AI in this game is beyond stupid. And to counter-assert that it's just a need for hand-holding is absurd.

"few remaining genuine problems" is completely dismissive of the fact that the game is broken, and it's people like you that create white noise which prevents real problems from being solved.

You're like the friends of people who allow themselves to be embarassed auditioning for "American Idol" because the friend is there "you're great, youre great" (when they actually arent so great)


Extremely lazy newbie held back by difficulty level :D

Adding a smiley doesn't make trolling any less mindless, stupid or counter-productive.
Qoojo Jan 22, 2016 @ 2:22pm 
I do not own the game because I keep reading about these AI complaints. I can see both sides of the argument. It seems like to me that these arbritrary AI restrictions are the only difficulty of the game. If those are "fixed" then it's a trivial game to play. That's just my impression from reading about the game here. Still pondering whether to get it during this sale.
Last edited by Qoojo; Jan 22, 2016 @ 2:23pm
Captain Australia Jan 22, 2016 @ 2:41pm 
I wouldnt buy it .. but your call.

It just needs too much work. The AI problems shouldn't be the challenge to the game, it should be the logistics, planning, etc.

There are other stupid little things too that speak to lack of polish .. like .. there's a landing pad where new colonists arrive within the various categories which you can prioritise, example:

Workers: 40%
Botanists: 20%
Engineers: 20%
Medics: 15%
Guards: 5%

Lets say you want to re-tool the priorities.

When you pull workers back by 10%, it AUTOMATICALLY distributes the 10% to other categories so that the tally is always 100% (presumably because if it's less than 100% the coding doesnt have the ability to adapt, dunno)

So, we pull workers back to 30% and it increases botanists and engineers by 5% equally .. but what if we wanted that 10% to medics ?

OR

What if we wanted 100% botanists on the next ship ?

It's a bizarrely frustrating thing, no valid reason that I can think of to do it that way .. and I think the AI of colonists has similar aspects to the coding .. where it made sense at the time, but now that the game has evolved further it's creating problems.

(And maybe too much work to turn the ship around, dunno)

It's a pretty game, and you can feel that it oozes potential, but with the problems it becomes un-fun pretty quickly IMO.
korac Jan 23, 2016 @ 1:59am 
Originally posted by Captain Australia:
just because a viewpoint expressed contradicts yours, it doesnt make it wrong.

Absolutely, which is why I try to explain the thinking or personal experience behind my opinion rather than just state that opinion as if it's an absolute truth - unlike a significant percentage of the "stupid / broken AI" claims which, upon closer examination, are all too often based on inexperience, misconceptions, or even downright falsehoods perpetuated by whiners who don't like to fail and therefore look for someone else - or something else - to blame, rather than just learning from their mistakes.

Besides, with around 400 hours in this game under my belt, there's just a vague possibility that I've played it enough to actually know what I'm talking about. In my opinion, of course.
Last edited by korac; Jan 23, 2016 @ 2:05am
Captain Australia Jan 23, 2016 @ 2:17am 
Fanboy much ?

Falsehoods, whiners, etc .. that's really no more evidence based than the remarks about the game being broken - whose viewpoints you're so anxious to dismiss as nonsense, stupidity or lies (to paraphrase you).

I've quite simply and clearly described a circumstance where the game is outright stupid.

Completely and indefensibly stupid.

The AI needs a *lot* of work before this game is playable. Sure, for a small and elite (sorry sarcasm doesn't read well, does it?) few, the game may be rewarding and fun now .. because you follow a precise recipe and anticipate and work around it's broken elements ..

.. but that doesn't change or invalidate the viewpoint that many aspects of this game are clearly unsound and need a lot of work before it can reach any consistent level of fun.

Viewpoint is not based on lies, misconceptions or inexperience.

Nor am I averse to failure, simply providing fair and honest commentary on the game.

So why don't you bugger off and leave me to it ?

Oh right, with 400 hours under your belt (?jesus wept?) maybe you've got too much invested in the game and have therefore lost your objectivity .. to the extent that you'll attack the viewpoints of random strangers.

Again .. maybe buggering off would be a good outcome ?

Thanks.
Sassbre Jan 23, 2016 @ 2:48am 
I can agree the AI needs some work and no its not that I havn't figured out how to play I actually completed the level by having to overcompensate for the flaws in AI. The complexity should come more so from gameplay than buggy or idiotic AI, if you remove the AI challenge then up the anti with the natural disasters and intruders, hell add in spies and wars from other colonies, i mean we do build communications towers for little to no purpose other than to accept visitors that come anyway...
korac Jan 23, 2016 @ 2:50am 
Oh dear, I think I touched a nerve. Something I said appears to have struck a little too close to the truth for comfort. I will indeed "bugger off" and leave you to your little temper tantrum, since you're so clearly incapable of reasoned and reasonable discussion without resorting to infantile remarks. G'day mate.
Captain Australia Jan 23, 2016 @ 3:13am 
Oh dear, I think I touched a nerve. Something I said appears to have struck a little too close to the truth for comfort. I will indeed "bugger off" and leave you to your little temper tantrum, since you're so clearly incapable of reasoned and reasonable discussion without resorting to infantile remarks. G'day mate.

It's not a temper tantrum, buddy - and if you can't see your glaring hypocracy and weird passive aggressive behaviours .. well, I don't hold much hope.
Last edited by Captain Australia; Jan 23, 2016 @ 3:15am
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Planetbase > General Discussions > Topic Details